Early success isn’t always an indicator of a successful season. The Pacers got off to a hot start last year, but then Haliburton got hurt. Anything can happen throughout the course of a season.
However, barring another unforeseen circumstance, the Pacers should be on track to make the postseason this year, and with that in mind, they could be active at the trade deadline.
The Chicago Bulls are one of the teams to watch as the deadline approaches, as they have struggled to start the year, and rumors have indicated their potential willingness to shake up the roster midseason.
Zach LaVine is a name that’s been directly brought up as a potential trade candidate, but for the Pacers, another name stands out more: Alex Caruso.
Caruso has been having a phenomenal season in Chicago, both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. He’s a guard, but adding him to the rotation would create so many different lineup options for Rick Carlisle.
Unfortunately, Caruso may be one of the most safeguarded players in the NBA. According to KC Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, the Bulls have “rebuffed” all Caruso trade offers in the past, and the new information regarding trade rumors has not changed their stance on the matter.
Despite the obvious value they could get in return, the Bulls seem hesitant to trade Caruso, which could come back to bite them if they continue to struggle and lose out on value.
Adding Caruso to the lineup would allow the Pacers to explore a starting lineup consisting of five of the following: Haliburton, Caruso, Bruce Brown, Bennedict Mathurin, Obi Toppin, and Myles Turner.
It would be a small-ball group, but the most intriguing option of that combination may be Haliburton, Caruso, Brown, Mathurin, and Turner.
Caruso and Brown are strong enough defenders to guard up a position, and the speed that the Pacers would have in that lineup would only help their pace on the offensive end.
Having Caruso’s defensive versatility would be a dream for an Indiana team that needs to improve on that side of the ball, so if he becomes available, they should push some serious chips on the table to make a run at him.